Day fourteen of a daily meditation, a practice of free writing on words of Advent this season...
The story of Jesus' birth, and our expectant waiting for his return, is about feasting. The coming of Christ in the body of a newborn baby turns upside down and inside out my definition of a feast.
Yes, Christ comes into our lack and spreads a feast for us, on the dirt floor of a barn with an audience of goats and sheep, cattle and donkeys, maybe a few chickens, and social outcasts of the day.
All the words I've written on so far point toward a greater hope, a more beautiful story, a richer feast, than what the world dishes out. More satisfying than what we could spread for ourselves.
Christ bursts on the scene of humanity after centuries of story laid down to prepare the way, and boldly declares, I am the feast. If you will push aside the meals before you, especially the ones that look and taste so good, and dine with me, you will never be hungry again. And at the same time, blessed are the ones who hunger for me, for they will be satisfied.
So, there's that marvelous feast.
And still, I think tonight of another sort of feast I wrote about, a year and a half ago. One that brings to mind Christmas and a mental picture I had of spreading a feast before God:
"I saw myself laying a feast at my table for God in the tiny studio apartment I used to inhabit, back in the day before my life completely changed. We ate fairly well. I was a good hostess, with a good income and a nice spread of fare for him to dine on. We were laughing and enjoying the abundance together.
And I saw us now. In the tiny little apartment I share with my mom, where I sleep on a mat on the living room floor. There is no table, just a blanket spread on the carpet. We are sitting cross-legged, dining on... dry saltine crackers. I am sad, because there is nothing to eat in the house, nothing delicious to feed him. I sit before him and cry, heaving shoulders, quivering lip, snotty nose. I am hungry, and he is with me in that hunger. He smiles at me and puts his arms around me, taking the cracker I offer him, now soggy from my tears. He is unfazed. I expect him to pack up and leave, find another house, another roommate who can feed and serve him better than me. But he just sits with me and eats that cracker as if it’s the best meal in the world.
And it seeps into my soul, for a quick moment, that this - this moment - is what the marriage vows are all about."
What kind of feast, really, do I have this Christmas - at all - to spread before my Lord? I'm undone, again, by the image of this Word-became-flesh-God, sitting on the floor with me, feasting on my dry crackers and crusts of tear-soaked bread. He takes whatever piddly offering we have and feasts on it like a king - and more, as the King that he is. Oh no, friends, he isn't intimidated by our lack. In his kingdom, these crusts of bread are the richest, sweetest cuisine.